7061 East Pleasant Valley Road, Independence, Ohio 44131 • (216) 241-2630 / Fax: (216) 241-6516

News and Issues
User Info

Former Vice President Jim Shell, 1933-2017

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio, June 13 — Jim D. Shell, former International Vice President of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, passed away at St. Luke''''s Hospital in Kansas City, Mo., on Thursday, June 1, 2017. He was 83 years old.

Brother Shell was born on December 28, 1933 in Nortonville, Kansas. He graduated from Central High School as part of the 1952 class and, afterwards, he attended St. Joseph Junior College.

Brother Shell began his railroad career in 1954 when he hired out as a switchman on the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad (CB&Q) at St. Joseph, Missouri. He went firing for the CB&Q in August of 1955, then he served his country in the United States Navy aboard the U.S.S. Bennington for two years. Brother Shell returned to the CB&Q and earned promotion to locomotive engineer in January of 1964.

In 1961, Jim married Marlene Ann (Diederich) Shell; together, they have three children.

Brother Shell joined the Brotherhood in 1968 as a member of Division 107 in St. Joseph, Missouri, and immediately became an active and involved member. He was elected Local Chairman in 1969 and served in that capacity until 1982, when he was elected Alternate Vice Chairman of the Burlington Northern General Committee of Adjustment. He held that office for four years before being elected General Chairman in September of 1986.

Brother Shell served as a delegate to the BLE’s 1981 2nd Quinquennial International Convention. He was elected 3rd Alternate International Vice President at the 3rd Quinquennial International Convention in 1986. In 1987, Brother Shell was elevated to the office of International Vice President following a series of retirements at the Advisory Board. He was reelected International Vice President in 1991 at the Fifth Quinquennial International Convention, and retired in 1996 following the Sixth Quinquennial International Convention.

Brother Shell was preceded in death by his mother, Roberta Barker (Shell) and his step-father, Carrol Barker, Sr. He is survived by: his wife, Marlene; son Jaime (Karen) Hummer of Kansas City, Kansas; daughter, Gena Evans, of Kansas City, Missouri; son, Christopher (Julie) Shell, Sr. of Osage Beach, Missouri; six grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren; brother, Carrol (Martha) Barker, Jr.; and several nieces and nephews. He and Marlene were longtime supporters of the Young Life Association, and they spent countless hours together collecting and restoring antiques. Brother Shell also enjoyed golfing, hunting, fishing, camping and traveling.

“Brother Jim Shell’s railroad career spanned 42 years, and during that time he was a tireless advocate for hardworking railroaders and a loyal member of our union for many years,” BLET National President Dennis R. Pierce said. “On behalf of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, I extend my most heartfelt condolences to Marlene and all members of the Shell family.”

Approximately 335 BLET members, families and guests observed a moment of silence in honor of Brother Shell at the union’s regional meeting in San Antonio on June 6, 2017.

He was interred at Mount Olivet Cemetery in St. Joseph, Missouri, on June 5. The family suggests memorial contributions to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital (http://www.stjude.org/).

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Like us on Facebook at

Sign up for BLET News Flash Alerts

© 1997-2017 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen


Decertification Helpline
(216) 694-0240

National Negotiations

Sign up for BLET
News Flash Alerts


AAR: Weekly rail traffic up 3.1 percent over 2016 for week ending October 14
KCS reports record 3Q 2017 operating income and operating ratio
Higher freight volumes lift KCS profit in 3Q 2017
NTSB says fatigue, lack of PTC contributed to 2015 UP accident in Texas
CSX scales back operations in Columbus, Detroit
Bergen County, N.J., the worst in the Northeast for railroad crossing crashes
UP unveils commemorative locomotive honoring U.S. armed forces
Amtrak’s Hoosier State on-time performance slowly climbs after slump
Train full of Cubs fans evacuated after locomotive fire
CP ready to close out Canada 150 celebrations with 19th annual Holiday Train
Q&A: Railroad Retirement spouse and widow(er)s’ annuities and public service pensions
Get the latest labor news from the Teamsters

More Headlines